Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Give a man a fish?

"Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him to fish, he eats for life."

We have all heard this before.

The origins of it are a matter I would love to discuss, the efforts of which would become of such a length that I fear I would lose you all to the purpose of this post.  The purpose of this post is to analyze my recent understandings of the many social implications of the above quote.

The concept behind that little gem of a metaphor is applicable in an innumerable amount of circumstances.

How can you all apply it to your life?

This is how I have applied it to mine. I am a teacher. I spent the first year of my teaching career pulling my hair out. Once I was bald, I sat there staring at this pile of brown that kinda looked like this:
I thought about quitting.  Usually when something causes me to bald from frustration, I would cease putting energy into that thing.  But I decided to keep marching on.  Maybe because I have no where else to march, not quite sure.  But luckily I found my niche in the teaching world.  Little did I know my niche was just a hallway to my true purpose.

I have developed the personality and ability to be a killer kindergarten/young elementary teacher.  I woo my students daily with different personalities, interactive games, actively engaging songs and dances.  I have the child's mind down to a science.  The science part is precisely where I found myself most intrigued.  Why is it so easy for me to teach little kids?  And why did it get more difficult as they got older?  It seems they have just simply lost the desire to learn.  If so, what happened during the development of a child where they lost their desire to learn?

That is the key point.  That is where I stopped enjoying being a teacher for the second time.  I realized I was just helping my kids learn for one day.  I was giving them a piece of candy.  But they didn't know how to get candy themselves.  They needed me to be there. I didn't like that.  I didn't feel satisfied knowing that as soon as my class is over, it was like I wasn't even there.

"Once you learn to enjoy work, it is no longer work"

My dad has been saying that to me my whole life...never has it ringed more true than now.

Culture morphs and mutilates people's minds into focusing all their energy onto what they are learning, and not learning itself.  The likelihood of always learning what we naturally like is so low that it makes so sense to only find happiness in those things.  And since we can't be happy with things we don't like, we need to focus on something different.  It is something that has taken my almost 3 decades to understanding, despite my father's constant reminding.  Let me paint a picture.

I am a builder.  Also in my spare time I enjoy animals.  Building is my job.  Animals are my hobby.  Does this mean I only enjoy building things that house animals?  of course not, my job and my hobby are 2 seperate things, not to be confused with each other.  This doesnt mean I will not find extra joy in building a zoo, or an aquarium.  I enjoy building anything, but I extra enjoy building things that are related to other things I like.

I don't see any difference with the above example and any child in school.  Every child has their hobby, but every child has their job.  It just happens that every child has the same job title: student.  both are important and necessary for happiness, but it seems children only let hobbies give them happiness.  As they grow older something happens to them and they start to look at their job of learning as a student as boring, stupid......forced.  These emotions allowed because they are in no position to worry about the emotional connection they have to fulfilling the requirements of their job because society only expects them to pass the next test, not enjoy passing the next test.

How would similar emotions affect our builder?  If our builder went to work with a horrible attitude every day, and hated building UNLESS he was building something he had an emotional connection to, How long would he keep his job?  He wouldn't have a job to keep.  Of course this doesn't happen because it is likely the builder likes building which is why he chose to become a builder.

Children didn't choose to become students.  Society decided it for them.  That has to be the main reason for the general bitter taste left in every child's mouth when they hear the word "homework".  If they had chosen their current profession as a student, logic would lead us to believe the majority would enjoy learning more.

The same can be said about the relationship with the majority of adults and their jobs.  The amount of Liquor stores littered around every metropolitan are proof.

So adults and children alike generally don't enjoy their jobs.  This is an interesting pattern that I have decided to expound upon in another post.

1 comment:

  1. If I could give Hattie only one thing it would be the desire to learn. Curiosity is such a valuable trait. Much more than I ever imagined it could be.